Psychology 200 LifeSpan

Week 8 Discussion Question #7


The 25th High School Reunion



This exercise asks you to think about your future, focusing on each of the

domains of development. Your job is to imagine that you are preparing to attend

your 25th high school reunion. For most undergraduates, this would mean you

are projecting yourself into your future at age 43 to 58, or thereabouts. If you are

an older student, simply speculate about a later reunion. Whatever your age,

adjust the timeline as needed to complete the exercise.

Now, prepare two versions of “who you are” at this reunion. First, create a life

story in which you experienced no major setbacks or limitations to your potential

and dreams. Then write a second, more realistic version that reflects the more

typical biosocial, cognitive, and psychosocial developmental patterns described in

the text.


  1. What issues in the biosocial domain of development will be most pressing to

you at this time?


  1. What issues in the cognitive domain will be most pressing to you?


  1. How will your life story have been shaped by the settings of the social clock

that was ticking during your adult years?


  1. What career choices will you have made?


  1. What relationship/family choices will you have made (for example, single,

married with children, divorced)?


  1. How will you have tackled the primary tasks of middle adulthood, as seen by

Erik Erikson (generativity vs. stagnation)?

Week 8 Discussion Question #2

Gender Differences in Depression

The symptoms of major depressive disorder are lethargy, loss of interest in family,
friends, and activities, and feelings of worthlessness that last two weeks or longer
without any notable cause. During adulthood, women are diagnosed with depression
roughly twice as often as men. (Interestingly, among college-age women and
men, the gender difference in depression is much smaller.)
More generally, women appear to be more vulnerable than men to passive
(internalized) psychological disorders such as depression and anxiety. In contrast,
men are generally more vulnerable to active (externalized) psychological disorders,
including drug abuse, antisocial conduct, and poor impulse control.
This exercise asks you to examine the gender difference in the diagnosis of
active and passive psychological disorders, first by thinking critically about this
issue and then by reviewing ongoing research regarding its origins.

1. What factors in the biosocial domain might account for women’s greater susceptibility
to depression and other “passive” disorders?

2. What factors in the cognitive domain might account for women’s greater susceptibility
to depression?

3. What factors in the psychosocial domain might account for this gender difference?

4. Some have suggested that the gender difference may be the result of a gender
bias in the diagnostic process. That is, doctors and clinicians expect women to
suffer from depression more often and, consequently, are more vigilant in
finding symptoms that confirm this expectation. As a researcher, how would
you test this hypothesis?

Week 8 Discussion Question #3

Devising an Intelligence Test
As noted in the text, many standard tests of intelligence are biased against older
age cohorts. Based on skills that are more pertinent to and commonly practiced
by younger persons, these tests typically underestimate the capabilities of older
As an exercise in studying the nature and the limitations of intelligence testing,
try to design an “intelligence” test that is biased in favor of persons in your
own age group. Your test may include vocabulary, expressions, and other examples
of crystallized intelligence, or, if you wish, it may attempt to assess memory,
speed of thinking, and other aspects of fluid intelligence that might differentiate
one age group from another. Try to include 3 to 5 tasks, if your test assesses fluid
intelligence, and 10 to 15 questions, if it assesses crystallized intelligence. Submit a copy of your test to the discussion board along with your answers to the following questions.

1. What is the name of your test?

2. What aspect(s) of intelligence is your test designed to assess? What types of
tasks or questions are included in your test?

3. Why is this test biased?

4. Who should score well on this test? Who should score poorly?

5. Have you ever taken a standardized test that you felt was unfair? Briefly
describe your experience.



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